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Sabres Classics: Plante's OT goal gives Buffalo series victory over Sens

Game 7 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to re-air Thursday at 8 p.m. on MSG

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Game 7s are, by nature, stressful. Teams work all season to reach the postseason and then it can all come down to one game. One play. One moment. Then add in the pressures of overtime, where the next goal means either going on or going home.

The Sabres have been victorious in only one Game 7 and "Sabres Classics" will celebrate that moment Thursday night as part of "Rivalry Week." 

Buffalo's win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals will re-air on MSG at 8 p.m.

Derek Plante, the series hero thanks to his goal 5:24 into overtime - his second marker of the night - fondly remembers the game and how close that team was. 

The lessons Buffalo learned from this playoff run helped them reach the Eastern Conference Finals the next season and the Stanley Cup Final in 1999.

"To score that goal was amazing for me. It was just so much fun to have a Game 7 overtime winner," Plante told back in 2014.

"But other than that, it was just the fact that I felt - and we all felt - that our team was starting to come together and really start to gel because we were such a young team at that time. That was a stepping stone for our whole squad."

The Sabres had won the first game of their series against the Senators and managed to take a 2-1 series lead in Ottawa, but lost Dominik Hasek in Game 3 due to injury. 

The Senators won the next two games to put Buffalo on the brink of elimination heading into Game 6. Buffalo shut the Sens out thanks to a 31-save performance from Steve Shields to set up Game 7 in the Queen City.

In Game 7, the Sabres battled back from a third-period deficit when Plante scored to tie the game 2-2 at the 6:29 mark of the period. 

Then in overtime, he slipped in over the blue line and took a long-range shot that somehow beat Ron Tugnutt.

Sabres play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret's call of the goal has, of course, also become iconic. The Sabres advanced to play the Philadelphia Flyers and the notorious "Legion of Doom" line consisting of Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg.

"Are you ready, Legion of Doom?" Jeanneret bellowed. "Here come the Buffalo Sabres!"

Video: Best Play: Plante's Series Winner

Here they come, indeed. 

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